Large monstrosity, typically unaligned

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 102 (12d10 + 36)
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.

16 (+3) 10 (+0) 17 (+3) 8 (-1) 14 (+2) 7 (-2)

Senses darkvision 60 ft., detect magic 30 ft., passive Perception 12
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Proficiency Bonus +3


  • Book Sense. Bookworms can sense the direction and distance to any spellbooks or other magical books within 1,000 feet. Creatures carrying such writings cannot be hidden from the bookworm.
  • Magic Resistance. The bookworm has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Magic Weapons: The bookworm’s attacks count as magical weapons.


  • Multiattack. The bookworm makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its tail. It can’t make both attacks against the same target.
  • Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d12+3) piercing damage. If the target is a spellcaster, they lose a spell slot of the lowest level they currently have, or two such spell slots on a critical hit.
  • Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d10+3) bludgeoning damage.


  • Devour Magic. When a creature within 60 feet of the bookworm casts a spell, the bookworm can make a Constitution check with a DC equal to 10 + the spell’s level. On a success, the spell has no effect and the bookworm regains 10 hit points.


This white wiggly creature is mostly a bloated abdomen with six tiny legs. Despite the odd proportions it pulls itself along the ground at alarming speeds and snaps its mandibles at you.

Bookworms originated as normal insects, possibly beetle or termite larvae, that were mutated by feeding on magical books. They have now turned into their own species of magically misshapen monsters. They feed on magical writings, and lurk in the remains of ancient libraries and wizards’ towers.

Wizards’ Bane. Bookworms have little interest in most adventuring companies, and ignore a party of fighters, rogues, and clerics. They only attack if they sense their favorite food: magical books. If any character carries magical writings, including a wizard’s spellbooks, a warlock’s pact of the tome, spell scrolls, or other magic books, the bookworm attacks, focusing only on characters with such magical books.

Distracted by a Meal. Characters who do not want to fight a bookworm can distract it by tossing it some magical writings to eat, and many a wizard has escaped certain doom by tossing a spell scroll or even their spellbook to the beast and running away while it feasted.

Feeding and Overfeeding on Raw Magic. While bookworms prefer to eat magical books, they are capable of digesting raw magic, in the form of spells or spell slots. This does not taste as good to the bookworms, however, and is more dangerous, as they can easily overfeed, forcing them to rest bloated and immobile, or in the worst-case scenario, they eat so much magic they explode.

Book Worm Variants: Feeding and Overfeeding

Using this variant, you can track how much magic the bookworm has fed on. Every time the bookworm absorbs a spell slot with its bite or counters a spell with its Devour Magic ability, note the level of the slot or spell affected.

  • If the bookworm reaches a total of seven spell levels consumed, its hunger is satiated, and it attempts to disengage. It only continues to fight if pressed.
  • If the bookworm reaches a total of ten spell levels consumed, it is gorged. Its speed is reduced to 0 and it falls unconscious. It awakens if it takes any damage, but its speed remains 0 until it finishes a long rest.
  • If the bookworm reaches twelve spell levels consumed, it is over-gorged. It explodes, dealing 33 (6d10) force damage to everybody within 30 feet, or half that if they succeed on a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw. The bookworm dies in the process.
Section 15: Copyright Notice

This and That: Book and Shelf, Copyright 2022 Sneak Attack Press; Author Matthew J. Hanson, William Fischer.

This is not the complete section 15 entry - see the full license for this page